KOPKIND GRASSROOTS FILM PRESENTATION, Hooker Dunham Theater (Gallery Walk Night in Brattleboro), August 1st, 7:30pm
POWER TO THE PEDALS. FILM WILL BE SCREENED WITH DIRECTOR/PRODUCER BOB NESSON Followed by discussion with audience.
This documentary portrays the transformative vision and extraordinary efforts of Wenzday Jane, a young woman whose mechanical skills and innovative actions are reshaping her community. Wenzday goes to the heart of the sustainability issue by offering solutions, and suggests that things don’t have to be the way they are.
As a young child growing up in public housing, Wenzday Jane’s bicycle meant personal freedom. She watched her family and neighbors struggle with issues of dependence, disempowerment, and inertia. She has been working all her life to pull herself out from under the weight of these inherited conditions. Now, with a passion for mechanics and organization, she is creating the means and cultural conditions to replace trucks with human-powered, souped-up bicycles for many local deliveries.
Shot in an intimate, lyrical style, the film follows her as she builds an organization of riders and cargo bicycles that work in agriculture and food delivery, composting, recycling and waste-hauling – and community building. We follow a rider making the rounds of municipal recycling bins, emptying bottles and cans into the bike’s cavernous tank. Weaving his 300-pound load through traffic, he heads for the city’s waste sorting facility, where he dumps into a mountain of trash just like any other gigantic truck. Wenzday reflects on winning a substantial contract for municipal recycling pick-up, “I’ve always been interested in challenges, in problem solving… There’s an opportunity to learn something new by solving a problem.”
Power-lifting a huge axle and wheel assembly onto a stand, Wenzday then disassembles a complex cargo bicycle. “There’s no alternative: you can’t just take these to the nearest garage, like a car, to get them repaired.” Her hands are covered in grease as she removes a planetary gear. “Bikes represent self-reliance and autonomy,” she says. “Working on bikes gives me a platform for really thinking about how things work.” By designing her own cargo trikes and creating a business around them, Wenzday is lowering the carbon footprint of our transportation system, one bicycle at a time.
Director Bob Nesson work shopped the film at the CID/Kopkind Seminars two summers ago. “We are excited to screen the finished film.” Says Kopkind Administrator John Scagliotti. Following the screening, Director Bob Nesson will lead a discussion about the film and the Pedal Power concept that the film portrays. Can Power Pedal happen in rural America?